Polka Dot Cottage | Making stuff and telling you all about it since 2005

Rhinebeck #3

Posted October 23rd, 2014 by

At the Ramada Fishkill

Mama's got a new tee.
Aidan and I took our third trip to Rhinebeck together last weekend, and as usual, it was a nice getaway.

We put ourselves up at the Ramada Fishkill this time. We end up in a different hotel each year. There’s a big cluster of them in Fishkill, which is about 45 minutes south of Rhinebeck, and it’s a great location for us to stay. It’s about an hour and 20 minutes from home, so we hop up there on Friday night after dark, but we don’t have to feel bad about not seeing any scenery on our way, because the next day it’s a beautiful 45 minute trip up Route 9 to Rhinebeck.

We always use Priceline to get our hotel (you can get good deals through Priceline, but you don’t know the name of the hotel you are staying in until after you commit to book it – usually that works out just fine, but sometimes not so much). The first year we ended up in an Extended Stay America. Aidan and I gave that place an enthusiastic thumbs down, both for noise level and creepiness factor.

The second year, we stayed at a Days Inn, which was about what you would expect. It was fine for our needs.

This year, we got the Ramada, and I will admit to having a mini freak-out on Friday afternoon when I happened to notice that Tripadvisor ranked the Ramada Fishkill #11 out of 11 Fishkill hotels. I was on the verge of cancelling and finding somewhere else (for more than double the rate, I might add) when sanity finally prevailed. I decided to cross my fingers and hope that the rest of the internet was just more picky about hotels than I am.

It became kind of a fun inside joke for us, actually, to be staying at “the worst hotel in Fishkill.” Aidan started referring to Fishkill as Buzzkill, which we both found rather hilarious.

And in the end? Sure the place was a bit run-down, and there was a giant crack in our window, which was being held together with packing tape. There were strange smells, and the shower was vintage 1982, but it was clean, and it wasn’t creepy. I’d actually rate it higher than the first place we stayed two years ago.

So it’s official. The internet is more picky about hotel rooms than I am.

Fall 18/31










It was a gorgeous Saturday at the festival itself. It remained overcast and cool all day long, which is just perfect for an event where wearing a handknit sweater is part of the fun.

We shopped all day. It was mostly window shopping – I am not the “spend with wild abandon” type – but we did buy the requisite maple cotton candy, a circular needle roll, and some Christmas gifts.

And of course… yarn.

The first two times we went, I had a goal of buying a batch of sweater yarn, but this time I didn’t want to spend that kind of money. In the past year, I’ve taken advantage of some crazy amazing sales on yarn at Craftsy, and so I already have a couple of sweater-sized batches of yarn in my stash.

This time, instead, I focused on getting yarn for a red cowl, and then I also picked up two other single skeins that caught my eye.

IMG_6516 copy

IMG_6518 copy

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I imagine you are not surprised by the colors I chose?

I anticipate feeling like my red cowl is more suited to November and December wear, and so the variegated green/blue/brown is likely to become a post-holidays cowl. But maybe it won’t. I’m open to ideas.

The mostly pale green yarn may become a hat. It may also become two baby sweaters for some people I know who are having babies, but I kind of hate to gift a new mother with something that is not machine washable, so maybe not. Again, I’m just going to wing-it.

I have a history of stashing yarn like this: single skeins I bought because they were pretty, or because they felt soft, but I had no plans for them, and so they ended up stuffed in a bin. I really don’t want that to happen with these!

To that end, I’ve added them to my Ravelry stash. I don’t usually use the stash feature there, but I figured I would be less likely to forget all about these gems if they were constantly being suggested to me while browsing patterns at Ravelry. We’ll see how that goes!

Nice day

Nice day

Fall 19/31

On the way home on Sunday, we stopped at a scenic overlook. “Scenic” is not sufficiently descriptive for this spot.

Great weekend as usual! We’re already looking forward to next year. Maybe next year I’ll actually get up the nerve to approach people I recognize, and say hello!

Charlotte Leydon

Posted October 22nd, 2014 by

Leydon wristwarmers.

Leydon wristwarmers.

Leydon wristwarmers.

So, I finished another knitting project: fingerless gloves. I’ve been using the same pair of green thumbless Dashing for four years, and I decided it was time for a more neutral pair.

I chose Leydon by Alicia Plummer for its interesting stitch pattern. It was certainly that. I wouldn’t call it difficult, but it wasn’t exactly something I found easy to memorize. I referred back to the pattern for every row.

But still, not difficult.

I modified the pattern to be thumbless, since that’s how I prefer my wristwarmers to be. I’ve made a few with thumbs but I never wear them because they are too rigidly positioned. I like to be able to move them up and down my wrist to suit my activity level or my need for warmth.

I made one error, and it’s kind of an obvious one…

Leydon wristwarmers.

Yeah, I probably should have compared the two while I was going, but I really thought I had my counting scheme all figured out and that it wouldn’t be necessary. It seems I was wrong – the second glove has one full pattern repeat more than the first.

Luckily I will be wearing these under sleeves, and nobody will ever see that they don’t match.

Of course, It may be enough to bother the daylights out me anyway. Time will tell.

By the way, I made these using the alpaca yarn I picked up at the NJ Sheep and Fiber Festival last month. I love this soft yarn, and I love that it’s named after the alpaca that donated its fleece. (Her name is Charlotte.) I do think that the weight is a bit light. I find the stitch pattern is not as obvious in my gloves as they are on the pattern website, and I think maybe that’s due to my yarn being less heavy than theirs.

It sounds like I have a lot of complaints about these gloves, doesn’t it? But the bottom line is that they are super soft, and since only a few inches of them will be visible at any time, the fact that they are different lengths isn’t all that important.

Next on the needles? I’m thinking Dovetail Cowl in red.


Posted October 21st, 2014 by

I’ve been looking at this page unhappily for some time. It’s my Download Shop:

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Or, I should say, it was. Today I spruced the place up a bit, gave it some new graphics, and made navigation a bit easier, too.

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Over the next few weeks, I hope to publish a new pattern or two, and reformat some of the older ones into snazzier PDFs. Stay tuned!

Oh, and please do let me know if you find any problems when you’re poking around in the shop at all. I’d like to fix any problems right away!

TWiP: Still Orange

Posted October 18th, 2014 by

This Week in Pictures

What else can I say about this week’s mosaic? Or the next two after this, for that matter? I’m spending the month of October capturing fall, so you’re going to be seeing lots of gold and orange.

I’m not complaining – I love LOVE Autumn colors. One of my favorite things is when the sky is stormy and gray, because that is one heck of a beautiful backdrop for bright orange and gold trees. We had that a few times this week.

Oh! and you know what else looks super amazing next to orangey leaves? Aqua. That picture below of the leaves in the aqua tub is hands-down my favorite of the season. I can’t stop looking at it.

Anyway I do hope that you love fall, too, because if you don’t you will be kinda bored around here for the next few weeks!

So, what is This Week in Pictures?

It’s a roundup of the photos I shot for my Project 365, plus some everyday-life images I posted on Instagram during the previous week. (FYI, my daily photo project this year has changing monthly themes. October’s them is Fall [of course!])

Ready? Cast your mind back to this time last week…


Fall 11/31

365: Fall 11/31 – I love how a rainy day makes the fall colors even more vibrant than usual.


365: Fall 12/31 – Rain and leaves collecting in a metal tub.


Fall 13/31

365: Fall 13/31 – Autumn sky.

Instagram: Aidan was cleaning his room and found this old plastic jewel ring. It’s too bad it doesn’t go past my first knuckle because I kinda rock this look.


365: Fall 14/31 – I love the colors out the dining room window at this time of year.


365: Fall 15/31 – That one tree in the back yard just turned fiery orange overnight.


365: Fall 16/31 – Rainy morning.


365: Fall 17/31 – I think the hardest part of packing for Rhinebeck this year, is deciding which of my favorite sweaters are coming with me.

Instagram: Fall colors at home, as seen by my bottom-of-the-line Android phone. Sometimes the pictures are better than I expect…

Thanks for taking a peek at this week’s photos! If you want to see this stuff as it happens, please feel free to follow me on Flickr.

I may already have plans to blog about some of these things in greater detail over the coming week, but be sure to leave a comment if there’s something in particular you want to know about!

Weekend Favorites

Posted October 17th, 2014 by

Hey, I’ve been wanting to thank you all individually for the nice comments on my Striped Yoke Cardigan, but I seem to have whittled away my online time doing other things this week. So I hope this group thank you will suffice!

You’ve helped me decide – there will be a pattern forthcoming. All I need to do is focus. (Did I say all I need to do? Easier said than done lately, but I’ll try!)

On Flickr

The mosaic below represents other people’s pictures that spoke to me this week. Be sure to click on the titles below the mosaic, if you want to know more about the image or the photographer behind it.

(follow me on flickr)

Weekend Favorites

1. Almost done….#stitchindye #quiltmarket #showmethemoda, 2. There is an inherent optimism found in green leaves and blue skies, don’t you think?, 3. _MG_0085, 4. Caminando por la calle, 5. finished, 6. penny pouch, 7. Autumn, welcome ♥, 8. Topkapi Palace In Istanbul, Turkey, 9. Yellow ladder, 10. DSC_0118, 11. 2 october, 12. friday stash play, 13. Monster #2 Custom Dunny, 14. tea + crochet, 15. Little Hearts, 16. Colgante caleidoscopio-ikat, 17. Little bear, you match my hydrangea. How cute of you., 18. It’s very close, 19. No matter how great the adventure…loving being home makes it all the sweeter for me. (Did you catch the spelling oopsie first read?) #artjournal, 20. Moon Rocks Beads – Polymer Clay Purses – PolyPediaOnline Iris Mishly Tutorial, 21. Some more #succulentlove because i can’t resist! #succulentjunkie #succulents #parys #southafrica #soupatravel, 22. common buckeye, 23. Handspun Yarn, 24. SAM_0857, 25. Making It’s Epic Migration, 26. VW’s in Schagen, 27. View from the Musee d’Orsay (V2), 28. Boreas Pass Aspen Stand

Around the Web

I spend some time earlier in the week sharing my favorite crafty links through social media. And then I repeat them here on Fridays.

  • cinnamon :: from sheep to skein – yarny stuff from SouleMama. Ever wonder how much yarn you can get out of one sheep? Amanda Soule shares the yield of her Cinnamon and shows what it looks like as roving and then spun into a heavy worsted twist.
  • Learn to Design Fabric! – a roundup from Spoonflower Blog. I’ve dabbled a tiny bit with fabric design, although at this point it has been mostly a matter of manipulating my photos. I’d love to design a few prints that are more *graphic* than *photographic*. Spoonflower shares these links to a handful of tutorials for budding designers.
  • Point and Shoot Love – by Jenny the Time Traveling Pirate, via Mortal Muses. I love what Jenny has to say about using point-and-shoot cameras. I, too, cut my teeth on a p+s for several years before I could justify the cost of a DSLR to myself, and I feel that the challenges the p+s posed really helped to stretch my skills.
  • Birch Forest Coat Rack – a cool DIY from A Piece of Rainbow. I love this coat rack! It’s meant to look like a birch forest, and it is perfect for fall.
  • Why It’s Good to Have a Pile of WIPs – by Cheryl Arkison, via Sew Mama Sew. I try to keep myself to a very small handful of works in progress, because I know the longer I go without working on a particular project, the less likely it will ever get finished. Cheryl has a different perspective.

Have a happy Friday!

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